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Natalie, a woman with vitiligo. She has shoulder length brown hair and is wearing a white strappy top and staring towards the camera, with her hands near her collar bone.

Natalie’s top tips for body confidence this summer

Our ambassador, Natalie, shares her advice on how to wear clothing with confidence this summer.

When it comes to appearance, everyone worries about something

Everyone has something they worry or feel less confident about, visible difference or no visible difference. The perfect body doesn’t exist, although sadly, unrealistic beauty standards on our social media feeds can lead us to believe so. Remembering this is important.

Whenever I’ve had a conversation with anyone about my skin, and vitiligo, they have often openly shared something about themselves that has caused them discomfort. This could be a scar in a more discreet place, or a condition they have. It’s always empowering to speak to others about my story, and learn about theirs. It reminds us that everyone is different, we can all feel self-conscious or have low self-esteem and that we should continue to speak openly about our experiences so that we can learn to love our differences.

It’s time to reframe how you feel about your body

It’s so easy for us to focus on the things which make us uncomfortable. We do it subconsciously, so it’s hard to get out of the habit, but if we take a moment to think about the things we like about our bodies and who we are as a person, it might just help us to reframe how we see ourselves.

One thing I often do when getting dressed into my summer clothes is tell myself three things I like about myself. It can be as small as thinking about my smile! This little excersise is great in reminding me that I’m so much more than my skin. You could also try the Motto tool, it’s great for boosting self-esteem.

Two pictures of Natalie. The first, in her summer top, posing in a way that highlights the vitiligo on her arms. The second, a picture of Natalie's legs, which look relaxed on a bed. She's holding a cup of tea.

Natalie still has moments of self-doubt, but reminds herself she’s so much more than her skin.

Summer can be tough, but let’s focus on the positives

Everyone, seemingly, loves the summer. Longer, warmer days and spending time outdoors with family and friends – what’s not to love?

The summer months, and wearing less clothing, and being out in public more, can be very overwhelming to someone with a visible difference. It wasn’t until recently that I started to really enjoy and appreciate summer and the happiness it brings. But it’s taken a long time for me to fully appreciate the joys of summer. The biggest challenge often being the stares and comments that have been directed towards me as I wear clothes that reveal my vitiligo more prominently than winter clothes.  I definitely still have moments where I question if wearing shorts is the right thing to do that day, and assess whether my confidence that day has the strength to deal with people staring at me. During those moments of self-doubt, I always remind myself that I am more than my skin and that I deserve to enjoy the summer like so many other people do.

I often remind myself that I want to enjoy and make the most of summer like everyone else does. I’ve found my confidence through fashion. I spent so many years covering myself up during the warmer months, wearing trousers and long-sleeved tops that made me feel hot and extremely uncomfortable. It’s taken a lot of work, but giving myself more freedom to be creative with summer clothing has helped with my confidence and helped me to enjoy summers more than I used to.

Learn to love your condition

We’re living in a time where more is being done to recognise and raise awareness of difference. It’s allowed me to learn more about my condition and appreciate the beauty in vitiligo. I love that it’s a condition that makes me unique. It’s taken me on a huge journey, and, partly, defined who I am. It’s connected me to a community and taught me that self-acceptance is key to being your most authentic self.

To those struggling to come to terms with their condition, find your community and let them lift you up and celebrate you. Finding my community has meant I’ve had people to turn to on my less-confident days, have felt inspired by others living with vitiligo and, most importantly, has made me realise I’m not alone. If you struggle to find a community, I’d recommend joining Changing Faces’ online community.

Once you’ve found your community to champion who you are, the chances are, you’ll never feel lonely again.

No matter how big or small your visible difference, if you’re struggling, get support. Changing Faces offers lots of support options, from a chat with someone on the Support and Information line, to online group support and one-to-one counselling that will help you to build self-esteem and confidence.

Two people in a counselling and wellbeing support session, the client looking away from the camera

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